Aah, Morocco – Marrakech, Sahara and more. 5 – 15 October’ 2023

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Aah, Morocco – Marrakech, Sahara and more. 5 – 15 October’ 2023 2022-08-26T17:33:10+10:00

GLAM GIRLS LUX TRAVELS ITINERARY

MOROCCO

5 – 15 OCTOBER’ 2023

 October 5th

Tangier

Your guide will meet you at the airport upon arrival. After the check in, you go for a guided tour of Tangier.

Separated from Spain by the Strait of Gibraltar, the city remains a mix of North African, French, Spanish, and Portuguese cultural influences. Tangier is currently undergoing several changes – the idea is to transform this North African city into “Morocco’s San Tropez.” While Tangier is enjoying a renaissance, there is much to see and do within the old city walls. Snaking streets, traditional Islamic architecture, and quirky shops full of knickknacks make the city visually irresistible.

During your city tour, you will explore the Kasbah and wander the Medina. The Kasbah is perched at the top of the Medina and was historically used as a defense station. As the highest point in the city, the Kasbah boasts panoramic ocean and city views. Tangier’s Medina, or Old City, the top attraction of Tangier, is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and a mixture of several architectural styles including Moorish, Andalusian, and European colonial. It’s contained by the walls of a 15th-century Portuguese fortress, although most buildings are actually relatively young for a Moroccan medina.

Overnight at Riad Dar Saba. Or Pinus Tangier

 

 

 

October 6th

Tangier – Chefchaouen – Fes (3 hour drive)

 

After the breakfast we will head on to Chefchaouen, the Blue Pearl city.

 

Beautifully perched beneath the raw peaks of the Rif, Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, an artsy, blue-washed mountain village that feels like its own world. Chefchaouen was originally known as Chaouen, meaning ‘peaks’. Under Spanish occupation the spelling changed to Xaouen, and in 1975 the town was renamed Chefchaouen (Look at the Peaks).  Moulay Ali ben Rachid founded Chaouen in 1471 as a base for Riffian Berber tribes to launch attacks on the Portuguese in Ceuta. The town expanded with the arrival of Muslim and Jewish refugees from Granada in 1494, who built the whitewashed houses, with tiny balconies, tiled roofs and patios (often with a citrus tree in the centre), that give the town its distinctive Spanish flavour.

City tour.

 

Arrival in Fes at the end of the day. Check in and welcome dinner in the beautiful Riad Fes. Or Palais Amani

 October 7th

Fes

 After the breakfast, you will go to explore the city of Fez with your local guide.

Fez is the holiest city in the Islamic world after Mecca and Medina. Founded at the beginning of the 9th century by Moulay Idriss II, and barely unchanged, this enchanting city has been a seat of government, philosophy, medicine and most notably religion since then.

Fez, the best surviving example of an ancient Arab city, is comprised of the “new” city, established in the 12th century, and the 2,000-year-old medina, where donkeys and mules laden with goods still trawl alongside buyers through the ancient market, itself a fascinating maze of lanes, blind alleys and bustling souks assaulting the senses with spices and exotic delicacies.

Fez is the perfect place to hone your bargaining skills in buying souvenirs, brightly colored hand-loomed carpets or fine crafted artisan goods. Visit the famous leather tanneries, a honeycomb of vats erupting in an explosion of brilliant color. Then, climb to the venerated Merenid Tombs for a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

Suggest a restaurant for dinner.

 

 

October 8th

Fes – Merzouga (7 hour drive)

In the morning, we depart from Fez, on a long drive southeast through the Moroccan countryside. Today’s driving time is about 6 hours, but the trip will take longer given some interesting stops along the way.

Our first stop will be in Ifrane. Tidy, ordered and modern, it feels more like Switzerland relocated to the Middle Atlas than North Africa. Its clean air, scrubbed streets and leafy outlook make it popular with tour groups. The French built Ifrane in the 1930s, deliberately trying to re-create an alpine-style resort. It has neat red-roofed houses, blooming flower beds and lake-studded parks.

We will lunch in Midelt that sits in apple country between the Middle and the High Atlas and makes a handy break between Fez and the desert. The landscape offers some breathtaking views, especially of the eastern High Atlas, which seem to rise out of nowhere.

Another stop, Erfoud makes a pleasant pit stop on the journey heading south to Merzouga, with wood-fired madfouna (Berber calzone), fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years and the photogenic ancient Ksar M’Aadid, 5km north of town.  Erfoud lies in the heart of Morocco’s fossil beds, and the Paleozoic strata south of the highway between Erfoud and Alnif are a prime hunting ground for diggers. Kilometers of shallow trenches have been hand-dug by Berber miners in their search for trilobite fossils.

Arriving at night to Merzouga, Morocco’s gateway to Sahara. Have a dinner and rest in a peaceful riad in the foot of the dunes.

 

October 9th

Merzouga camp

After the breakfast, around 10 a.m. we will go to discover Erg Chebbi sand dunes at 4×4 vehicle. When a wealthy family refused hospitality to a poor woman and her son, God was offended, and buried them under the mounds of sand called Erg Chebbi. So goes the legend of the dunes rising majestically above the twin villages of Merzouga and Hassi Labied, which for many travelers fulfill Morocco’s promise as a dream desert destination.

Shape-shifting over 28km from north to south and reaching heights of 160m, Erg Chebbi may be modest compared with the great sand seas of Algeria, Libya and Namibia, but it is extraordinarily scenic. The rose gold dunes rise dramatically above a pancake-flat, black hammada and glow stunning shades of orange, pink and purple as the afternoon sun descends.

In the desert, we will visit nomad families and have a traditional mint tea with them, coming back to the riad around 3 p.m.

Before sunset, you will saddle up your camel and trek into the great sand of the Sahara to arrive in the camp situated in the quiet and idyllic sand dunes of the desert. Here, you will be entertained by traditional fold dances while listening to the intoxicating beat of Berber drums.

At nightfall, you’ll sleep under a nomad tent beneath flickering stars in the clear desert sky. Experience a sense of timelessness in the still, silent desert unchanged since caravans loaded with spices, gold and indigo crossed long ago.

 

 

October 10th

Merzouga – Skoura

This morning you depart from the desert camp back to Merzouga to travel along the rugged Road of a Thousand Kasbahs that rise up like turreted sand castles along this ancient caravan trading route. This area has long been a popular location for Hollywood films such as The Last Temptation of Christ, Jewel of the Nile, the remake of the Ten Commandments, etc. The central region is one of the most exciting and romantic areas of Morocco nestled along rich river valleys, palmeries and burnished mud-brick homes ablaze in vibrant color under the shelter of the blue desert sky.

A highlight of this region and not far from the main road at Tinehir, at the end of a valley with stunning palmeries and Berber villages is the magnificent Todra Gorge. Here a massive fault in the plateau divides the High Atlas from the Jebel Sarhro, with a crystal clear river emerging from it, with the gorge rising to 300 meters at its narrowest point.

Further on you will reach the Dades Valley, one of the most picturesque places in all of Morocco. It is filled with groves of fruit trees, traditional Berber architecture and warm, friendly people. Its sheer mountain walls and fantastic geological rock formations add to its uniqueness and splendor, especially when the sun is shining and the sky is clear blue. A further hour up the Road of a Thousand Kasbahs you will reach Skoura and your riad Ksar el Kabbaba.

 

 

October 11th

Skoura- Marrakesh

 

This morning you depart from Skoura to continue your journey across Morocco and the Atlas Mountains, where as always, remarkable sights exist for you to discover along the way. The first of today’s highlights is just outside the town of Ouarzazate, where you will find the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou. This is one of the most exotic and well preserved Kasbahs in the entire Atlas region, being used in over 20 feature films, including Lawrence of Arabia.

In the afternoon, after the check in in your riad, you will start a discovery of the city, visiting the famed square of Djemaa el-Fna, where delectable fare is grilled over coals in bustling torch-lit open-air markets. Mystical snake charmers, hustlers and mischievous monkeys are part of the nightly drama that unfolds, as Berber acrobats, fortune tellers, musicians and engaging storytellers seduce rapt crowds.

 

October 12th

Marrakesh

 

An enchanting palm oasis set against the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is Moroccoʼs second oldest majestic imperial city and retains the splendor of its ancient past. Buildings are blushed in hues of rosy earth, and horse-drawn carriages clip along broad avenues lined with palm, lime and orange trees. Donkeys carrying carts trawl past fragrant gardens of roses, honeysuckle and jasmine. Explore with your certified guide the ancient Bahia Palace from the days of the harem, now populated by a sentry of nesting storks, enter the ancient royal Saadian Tombs, explore the vibrant and historic Jewish mellah where some of the best jewelry is found in Morocco, and view the majestic Koutoubia Mosque before entry into the 9th century walled medina.

In the afternoon, you will wander through the souks of Marrakesh enjoying shopping of beautiful artefacts and decorative objects. Whether or not you are a big shopper, going to a Souk is a cultural experience that should not be missed on a trip to Morocco. Find the medina, the central and oldest part of the city, and your journey has almost begun. If you feel slightly overwhelmed when you enter a lively area filled with artisan shops, aromatic bakeries, and excited shopkeepers eager meet you, you have found the souk.

When locals refer to the souks, they mean the maze of market streets that stretch north from the Djemaa el-Fna. The main thoroughfare are Souq Semmarine and Souq el-Kebir, originally dedicated to leather work, they now sell all manner of things and trinkets. We will visit is Rahba Kehdima, the apothecaries square, which is ringed with multi-coloured spice stalls, and the Creiee Berbere, once the slave market, and now the main Carpet Souk. Souq Haddadine is where you’ll find the blacksmiths at work and close by Place Ben Youssef is the Leatherworkers Souk.

Dinner with the local family.

 

October 13th

Marrakesh

 Today, you will explore the new part of Marrakech and its famous neighborhoods of Gueliz and Hivernage. One of the must-see spots of Marrakech is a recently opened museum located at the former fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent. Measuring in at 4,000 square meters, the museum is dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent‘s life, as a 400m2 permanent exhibition space showcases the fashion work of Yves Saint Laurent.  You will visit the Eve Saint Laurent garden, Jardin Majorelle – gifted to Marrakesh city by YSL. Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé bought the electric-blue villa and its garden to preserve the vision of its original owner, landscape painter Jacques Majorelle, and keep it open to the public.

You will also visit the ancient Menara pool, the palmerai ride followed by a tour around the ancient Medina wall. Wind your way through the serpentine labyrinth of the spice-filled air of the bustling souk, unchanged for over 1000 years, where you’ll discover the best of traditional Moroccan craftsmanship. You will visit one of the natural plant pharmacies (Herboristerie Avicenne or similar) to get traditional Moroccan spices, herbs and oils.

Afternoon shopping.

 October 14st 

Marrakesh – Casablanca

Some highlights of the economic capital, Farwell dinner, overnight at le Doge hotel and SPA.

 

October 15th

 

Private transfer to the Casablanca airport to pick your flight home.

 

Accommodations bed+breakfast

– Tangier: Dar Saba/Pinus

– Fes: Riad Fes

– Merzouga: Riad Madu/ Luxury Camp Madu

– Skoura: Ksar El Kabbaba

– Marrakesh: La Maison Arabe

– Casablanca: Sofitel Tour Blanche

 

 

Additional meals:

– Fes: welcome dinner

– Merzouga: 2 dinners (riad and camp), 1 lunch in the desert

– Marrakesh: dinner with a family (wine included)

 

Other inclusions: transportation and transfers, entrance fees, water, guide. 4×4 in the desert

 

 Costs – 

Twin share – USD$5318

Single supplement – usd$850

 

contact jeanw@glamgirlsluxtravels.com to put your name on the long waiting list